Maintaining positive relationships with your players in Football Manager 2021 is vital. Creating a harmonious dressing room atmosphere will keep players on your side, give you a better chance of winning matches as happier players perform better, and win silverware.
You might be a bit daunted by the prospect of keeping everyone happy, though. Players want regular playing time, contracts with bigger wages, seeing their club progressing on and off the field, and enticing — and keep hold of — their world-class individuals. If you find that things aren’t as rosy as you would like them to be, we’ve got some tips for you to maintain positive relationships with your stars.
The first thing you can do is praise them for good performances. Click on a player to open their profile. Look for the Discuss tab at the top of the screen, and click on the drop-down arrow. Scroll down to ‘Praise player,’ and choose from the options including ‘Praise recent form,’ ‘Praise conduct,’ and others. You will be greeted by an overlay screen that enables you to praise your player for their last performance. You can use in-game gestures, such as putting an arm around their shoulder, to cement how you feel. This will boost your player’s morale and, given time and the right amount of praise at the right time, you can make it onto the ‘favoured personnel’ list of their profile.
Next, you can use the Discuss tab to ask them about a transfer target or staff member they think you should bring to the club. Open the Discuss tab and select an option from the ‘Advice’ option. Players will offer suggestions of people on their favored personnel list, family members, or individuals they have got on well with at other teams. If you decide to bring one or two of their suggestions in, it will show them that you value their opinion and make them feel more integrated in your squad.
Another option is to keep tabs on overall player happiness. Head to the Dynamics tab on the left-hand menu, and look for the Happiness tab at the top of the screen. Click on this to bring up a list of your players. You can see how happy they are in areas, including playing time, club progress, and more. If a player starts to feel disgruntled about something, the face in the image will change from a smiling one to an unhappy one. The colored square will also change from green to yellow or red.
You can click on a player’s profile to find out why they are unhappy. If you look towards the bottom right of their main profile image, you will see if they are starting to develop pre-concerns. These can relate to wanting an improved contract, not starting matches, or something else. You can nip these issues in the bud by using the Interaction tab to speak to them. Alternatively, you can offer them a new contract, bring them into your starting line-up, or choose another option to start improving their mood.
Unhappy players can eventually lead to long-term problems for your squad and results on the pitch. Team leaders, in particular, can cause havoc if they are unhappy over an issue that you fail to resolve. If you don’t sort a problem out soon, players will come to you with their concerns. If you deal with the situation badly, players can complain to their teammates and, if they are respected enough, it can lead to a dressing room revolt. This can cause your squad to fall out with you, which leads to dips in form, losing matches, and could end up with you losing your job.
Monitor your players’ happiness levels weekly, sort out potential issues before they become full blown problems, and regularly chat to your stars, and you will enjoy a long, successful career in management.